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BDT Sets Goal of Bringing $1 Billion in Benefits to Philadelphia Over the Next 10 Years
Philadelphia, October 12, 2018– At a press conference today, Mayor Jim Kenney and Benefits Data Trust (BDT) announced the expansion of BenePhilly to City health centers and Community Schools to help low-income Philadelphians enroll in valuable benefits to help pay for groceries, healthcare, housing, utilities, and childcare.
BenePhilly was launched in 2008 by BDT, the City of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to provide targeted outreach and enrollment assistance over the phone to help low-income older Philadelphians access essential benefits. In 2014, support from the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity expanded BenePhilly to Philadelphians of all ages and created a network of BenePhilly centers in communities across the city. Trained counselors at each center, as well as in BDT’s contact center, screen people for eligibility and complete applications using BDT’s Community PRISM software.
Research has shown that access to these benefits increase educational, economic, and health outcomes. Yet every year, millions of dollars’ worth of federal, state, and local benefits go untapped because people do not know they are eligible or cannot navigate the enrollment process. BenePhilly is a lifeline for thousands of individuals and families who are trying to make ends meet, delivering an average of $6,000 in benefits per household per year.
Under the expansion announced today, four Community Schools in North Philadelphia and the City health centers in Fishtown and Germantown will be able to screen parents and community members and help them apply for benefits using Community PRISM.
“Over the past 10 years BenePhilly has helped more than 110,000 Philadelphians heat their homes, feed their families, and enroll their kids in childcare,” said Mayor Kenney. “This new partnership will help reach thousands of additional families and is a key part of the City’s strategy to fight poverty.”
BDT’s proposal to launch BenePhilly 2.0 was recently named one of 20 finalists out of 1,800 in the Communities Thrive Challenge, a national competition sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and The Rockefeller Foundation. The 10 winners announced in December will receive $1 million grants to scale effective approaches to expanding economic opportunity.
“Everybody benefits when people can afford food, housing, and healthcare. Kids do better in school, adults are better able to secure and sustain employment, and older adults can age in place with dignity,” said Ginger Zielinskie, President & CEO of BDT. “Today’s announcement is a first step in our larger vision to enroll low-income Philadelphians in benefits worth $1 billion over the next decade. Doing so is a foundational element to helping low-income families across the city achieve economic mobility.”
BenePhilly Hotline: 844-848-4376
Benefits Data Trust (BDT) is a national nonprofit that helps people live healthier, more independent lives by creating smarter ways to access essential benefits and services. Each year, BDT helps tens of thousands of people receive critical supports using data, technology, targeted outreach, and policy change. Since inception in 2005, BDT has submitted over 800,000 applications – more than any other single entity in the country – securing over $7 billion in benefits and services. BDT employs more than 170 people and provides enrollment assistance to individuals in six states, and policy assistance to states nationwide. For more information, visit bdtrust.org.